Tips on how to get started with Intermittent Fasting

Hello my beautiful darlings,

I am absolutely thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive response that I received from my previous post about intermittent fasting. So many of you have expressed interest in trying the 16/8 method that I recommended. So, in an effort to help you get started, I’ve put together a brief post on little tips and tricks that you can try in order to give you the best chance of succeeding with intermittent fasting. Hope you enjoy!

Start here

The first thing I’d like to say to anyone new to fasting is to take it easy. We’ve grown up predominantly in a society which encourages the consumption of three main meals, the first being shortly after we wake up in the morning. Only recently have we began questioning the reasoning and logic behind this. So don’t pressure yourself to master this “new” way of eating. Just like any habit change it will take some time and patience. To make things easier you can try;

  1. Start gradually: Try fasting for 12 hours and gradually increase your fasting time to 16 hours. So for example, say you finish your evening meal at 9pm, try not having anything (except water, herbal tea or black coffee) until 9am the next day. Then gradually begin delaying the breaking of the fast to 10am then 11am etc.
  2. Drink water: It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger. Start your day with a large glass or two of plain water. Not only does this kick start your metabolism, hydrate you after the many hours of not consuming liquids but it also gives you a feeling of fullness due to the stretching of the stomach which then suppresses the hunger hormone.
  3. Drink black coffee: Black coffee is an excellent appetite suppressant. Studies have shown that people who drink black coffee on average eat less food, have lower blood sugar levels and are at less risk of developing diabetes. Don’t go overboard with the coffee though, I’d recommend no more than 2 cups per day.
  4. Drink your coffee slowly: I can drink one americano for 4-5 hours! Just keep the cup at your desk and whenever you remember just take a sip of coffee followed by 2-3 sips of water. Call me crazy but this ratio works wonders! The bitter taste of the coffee kills off any appetite for food and the water after that tastes almost sweet.
  5. Do not have absolutely anything that contains calories during the fasting period (not even a bite): This is extremely important. Ever heard of the saying “Appetite comes with the food” ? Well this applies 100% here. For example, say that at around 11 am I ate 2 strawberries. I guarantee that by 11:30 am I will be ravenously hungry. While if I didn’t eat the two strawberries I could go until 4/5pm without even being hungry. So unless you’re having a meal do not eat anything because it will just make you hungry. This means no snacks. Who even invented snacks?
  6. Keep your mind focused (on something other than food):The beauty of fasting is that it frees up so much of your time so that you can focus on your work, studies or hobbies. For those with too much free time it may be a little more difficult. Especially in the beginning, you may find yourself thinking about food which is completely normal, and trying to block out those thoughts is just plain exhausting so the easier way is to just focus on something else, and focus on that something else fully.
  7. Be flexible: What I love about the 16/8 method is that it’s so flexible! As long as you make sure that there 16 hours of fasting every single day you can play around with the exact timings of your meals. For example, say that I have brunch at 11 am on Sunday, in order to make sure I still fast for 16 hours I will finish my evening meal by 7 pm on Saturday night.

 

Hope this has been helpful and feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below!

 

Happy fasting!

 

The miracle of intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting, prolonged fasting, religious fasting … chances are you’ve heard of fasting before. The topic tends to spark a lot of confusion and perhaps may trigger images of emaciated individuals or yogis meditating on a mountain top in your mind when you think of it. So the aim of this post is to somewhat clear the confusion surrounding the topic, give you the top 5 health benefits of intermittent fasting and provide some solid reasons as to why I think you should try it!

What is intermittent fasting?

In very basic terms, fasting allows you to burn your own excess body fat. Intermittent fasting therefore refers to doing this at set recurring intervals. It is important to know that this is completely natural and that your body does this even without you being aware of it. When you sleep at night you are essentially fasting that’s why the first meal you have when you wake up is called breakfast, you are breaking your fast.

Body fat is merely stored energy from previously eaten food. So when you’re not eating, your body is “eating” its own fat for energy. You can probably already guess some health benefits associated with that! But more on the health benefits a little later, let’s first look at some different fasting styles.

Different intermittent fasting styles

Intermittent fasting is essentially a pattern of eating. The specifics of the pattern vary with each of the different forms however they all have one thing in common and that is a cycle of eating followed by a cycle of not eating. There are many different forms of intermittent fasting but here are a few of the most common ones.

The 16/8 Method: This is by far the most common fasting style. Essentially you have an 8-hour eating window followed by 16 hours of not eating anything (sleeping is included in the fasting hours). This is the method that I use most commonly although I alternate between the warrior diet and this method quite frequently. So, for example, what I do when I follow the 16/8 method is I stop eating at 9pm and have absolutely nothing (except water and black coffee) until 1pm the next day. So basically skipping breakfast. You can play this out however you want, you can skip dinner if you prefer. The key is to have 16 hours of eating absolutely nothing and eating all your meals within an 8-hour period.

For women, this is the preferred method of fasting as it has been shown that women do better on it when compared to the others. This is mainly due to women being more sensitive to ghrelin, the hunger hormone.

For people who are hungry in the morning, this may take some time to get used to while on the other hand, many breakfast skippers will find that this way of eating comes instinctively to them.

The Warrior Diet: This is my next favourite form of intermittent fasting. The warrior diet is basically eating one large meal a day within a 4-hour window. You can eat a small amount of fruit or vegetables during the day and you have one large meal in the evening.

The arrangement is essentially 20 hours fasting and 4 hours feasting.

What I love most about this style of fasting is the mental focus I achieve when I do it. You see, when you eat your body goes into “Rest and digest” mode which means that it’s expending a large amount of your total energy on digesting your food while only a small amount is left to perform other tasks. This is usually why many people feel less productive during the afternoon. So not eating anything, or just having one or two small fruits during the day means that you have the majority of your body’s total energy available to use in productive ways.

The 5:2 Diet: This is when you eat normally for 5 days of the week and fast for 2 days. In the 2 days of fasting, it is recommended that women eat 500 calories, while men 600 calories. This form of fasting was popularised by Michael Mosley, a British journalist and doctor. For example, this can mean that you eat normally on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday while on Tuesday and Thursday you have only two very small meals of 250 calories each.

Alternate-day Fasting: This is where you fast every other day. Some people either fast completely (i.e. eat nothing at all the whole day) while others choose to consume up to 500 calories on fasting days.

Eating nothing at all every other day is rather extreme so I would not recommend this form of fasting for beginners or for prolonged periods of time.

Eat-stop-Eat method: This method involves doing a 24-hour fast once or twice per week. The way you can play this out is for example by finishing your dinner at 7 pm on Tuesday night and eating nothing again until 7 pm on Wednesday night.

Top 5 Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

  1. Weight-loss and improved fat burning – When you don’t eat your serum insulin levels drop and when this happens your body can tap into your fat storages for energy. This means that you are using your own body fat for energy rather than the food that you eat. As you can imagine, this results in fat loss.
  2. Improved mental clarity and concentration – As mentioned previously, when your body isn’t using its energy to digest food you have access to a large amount of your body’s total energy to use for productive purposes. This for me is one of the most important reasons to fast as I love the feeling of mental clarity.
  3. Reversal of type-2 diabetes – This is major! Science is just beginning to recognise how important fasting can be in preventing and reversing type 2 diabetes.
  4. Increased growth hormone – Many people believe that if you fast you may lose your muscle mass and therefore think they need to eat every 2-3 hours. Research however, says otherwise. Scientific studies suggest that periods of fasting are followed by a surge of increased growth hormone.
  5. Lowered blood sugar and cholesterol levels – When you are in a fasted state your blood sugar levels are maintained at a low level and your cholesterol levels are also lowered.

 

 

 

Recommendation

If you’re new to fasting and want to give it a go I would recommend by starting with the 16/8 method listed above. Alternatively, you can start with a 12 hour fasting period and gradually increase it to 16 hours. This is the most gentle form of intermittent fasting which can be safely maintained over a long period of time.

Also, remember that this isn’t unnatural and you’re not starving yourself. Humans have evolved to thrive on periods of fasting. What’s unnatural is eating every 2 or so hours. Not only is it not good for your health but it also takes so much time of your day just thinking about food, preparing food and eating food that could be used for other purposes.

Give your digestive system and body a break to experience the healing effect of intermittent fasting.

I tried the Super Blend Me Diet for 10 days

Detox diets, juicing, fasting… you name it, I’ve tried it! I love experimenting and trying different things to see how my body responds. My personal philosophy is that every single body is unique and therefore what’s best for one person may not necessarily be best for another. That’s why I believe experimentation is essential!

So recently I purchased the 10-day Super Blend Me diet. Now the great thing about this plan is that apart from being able to purchase Jason Vale’s book and follow the plan, you can actually order all the smoothies ready-made, frozen and get them delivered to your door!

I think it’s obvious which option I chose!

Why I decided to try this detox diet

  • I adore Jason Vale! I’ve tried many of his previous juicing diets and felt fantastic. I own almost all his books on juicing and healthy eating and so, he came out with a new plant-based protein smoothie diet and well I had to try it!
  • It was super convenient! All I had to do was order the smoothies online and got them delivered within a couple of days. It’s also great because you don’t need to worry about cleaning the juicer/Nutri Bullet or preparing food, all you need to do is in the evening simply take the smoothies for the next day out of the freezer and into the fridge to defrost overnight.
  • The smoothies contain plant-based protein. Jason’s previous plans usually consist of juices and smoothies made out of fresh fruits and vegetables and absolutely nothing else. That’s exactly why I love them! But this time he has decided to add some protein and healthy fats (from almond butter, cashew butter etc..) and so it was interesting to try something new.
  • I had gotten myself into a little sugar rut just before the detox plan. I was eating a good amount of junk food and wanted a reset so the 10 day plan seemed perfect!

Delivery day: What came in the box

30 x Smoothies

20 x SOS juice bars

1 x Super Blend Me Book

1 x Juicy Magazine

Detox diet outline

The way that Jason suggest that the diet is implemented is as follows:

Have 3 smoothies per day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Making sure there is at least 4 hours between meals.

You’re also allowed up to 2 SOS juice bars per day if you get very hungry.

Herbal tea and water you can consume in unlimited quantities. However, coffee is forbidden (just for the 10 days – to give your adrenals a break)

Results

  1. The absolutely most important result was how I FELT. By day 10 I felt light and rejuvenated. I also felt much calmer and more positive.
  2. I had so much ENERGY! and also felt like I needed less sleep. Usually, I would sleep 8-9 hours a night. On this plan I was waking up naturally feeling refreshed after 7 or so hours of sleep.
  3. I lost some weight. I went from 51.6kg to 49.4kg.
  4. Body fat % went down too, from 22.7% down to 20.2%.
  5. Skin was clearer and fresher looking.

 

Would I recommend this detox plan?

Firstly, I want to say that this diet plan is definitely not sustainable and nor should it be. It isn’t something that should be done for longer than 10 days (in my opinion).

The main reason to do such a plan is to reset your body and give your digestive system a well-deserved rest.

  • If your diet is very healthy, you can use this plan to simply give your body a rest.
  • If your diet isn’t so healthy, you can use this plan as a transition into a healthier diet. Doing this plan resets your taste buds so once you have finished it you’ll find that you’re no longer craving the junk food, so it’s easier to eat healthily.

If your reasons to do such a plan are somewhat of the above then YES! I would definitely recommend it. If however, you’re looking for a quick-fix or a quick weight loss tool I wouldn’t recommend it because if you go back to eating junk food after the plan you will put on all the weight back (and perhaps more!)

If you want to give this 10-day Super Blend Me Detox Diet a go you can visit the link below and place your order.

https://www.juicemasterdelivered.com

 

 

 

Sunday Brunch in Hampstead

Waking up on a Sunday morning and going to a cute little cafe for brunch.. Ahh I love that feeling! I wish there were at least 2 Sundays a week!

If you’re thinking of where to go for your next Sunday brunch, check out this place. 

I recently discovered a lovely little cafe in Hampstead where they have incredible brunch options. Whether you’re an egg-lover and love your Eggs Benedict or you have a sweet tooth and usually go for the Belgian waffles, or you may be an all-English type of breakfast person, there’s something for everyone in Silverberry!

The cafe/restaurant is located in a lovely area, less than 2 minute walk from Hampstead Heath train station. On a Sunday there’s free parking almost everywhere in the area so you don’t need to worry about the Sunday bus/train service!

Menu

Lots of delicious options to choose from!

Ambience

The place was very small and cute! The atmosphere was extremely relaxed, just what you need on a Sunday!

I was very surprised that the service was incredibly quick! Keeping in mind that we went at 11am on Sunday, which is peak time and the cafe was very busy indeed. We ordered our food and within 3 or so minutes our hot drinks arrived. Then 2-3 mins after that our food followed. We must have looked hungry haha!

Simple and cute decor.

Our brunch choices

I have forever been a sweet type of person, but recently I’ve been loving savoury breakfasts!

On this occasion, I opted for Eggs Royale. I loved everything about this meal! The smoked salmon, the eggs and the crusty sourdough! Could have it every single day.

So yummy!

One of my companions went for a “Make your own breakfast” which consisted of poached eggs, avocado, halloumi and sourdough bread.

Looks so good!

And the other went for the weekend special buckwheat pancakes with toasted banana, nuts and glazed with syrup.

Yum!

Area

The area is absolutely beautiful! It’s very close to central London yet still surrounded by parks and lots of greenery.

After brunch, we strolled down the little streets of Hampstead enjoying the cool February breeze.

Check out Silverberry’s website below for more information.

www.silverberry.net

 

 

 

 

 

3-day Detox Plan

Kick-start healthy eating habits by resetting your taste buds!

Most of us are all too familiar with post-weekend lethargy. Waking up on a Monday morning with last night’s partially digested roast dinner still churning around in your belly. Not the best feeling in the world but hey, that’s life! Most of us do tend to overindulge every once in a while, and before any guilt and shame sets in let me ease the pressure a bit. To your relief, research actually shows that spiking up caloric intake once a week actually has a positive effect on your metabolism. Provided however, that you maintain a relatively clean diet the rest of the time.

Now this “rest of the time” has been quite a challenge for me over the years. I’ve found that when I start a certain way of eating I can generally stick to it for a good amount of time. The problem comes when a situation arises that requires me to have to deviate slightly from my plan. I’m talking birthdays, nights out, holidays, weddings, special occasions etc etc. The second my tongue touches that cake, that’s it. Whatever diet I thought I was on is now a thing of the past. Finding balance and moderation has always been so difficult for me as I am generally all or nothing sort of person. But…I’m learning! 😛

I’ve discovered that there was a couple of reasons why I found it so hard to bounce back after a “relapse”. The first is, calling the slight deviation a relapse! Please people, never tell yourself that you’re on a diet. Because unless you’re one of the very very few out there that can be on a diet forever, you’ve doomed yourself before you even started. Try to adopt healthy lifestyle changes and avoid going on diets that are not sustainable over the long-term.

And the second reason that I found bouncing back so hard is because my taste buds were all out of balance. After a period of eating junk, your taste buds become accustomed to the taste of high fat, high salt and high sugar foods, so when you start eating vegetables, quite frankly they taste like nothing. So to address this issue I’ve come up with a simple 3-day detox plan that helps to reset your taste buds so that even after a period of overindulgence you can enjoy your veggies again in no time.

I’ve been doing this plan unintentionally for quite a long time now and I’ve found that it really works for me. It’s super simple and really enjoyable too!

Day 1

Breakfast

Fast. You can have black coffee or tea without any milk or sugar.

The reason for skipping breakfast is because usually when you’ve consumed a large amount of food over the previous days your serum insulin levels are likely to be quite high. Therefore, we want to allow your body to fully digest and absorb the food you’ve already consumed before bombarding it with more.

Please note: As your insulin levels start to drop you will start feeling very hungry. It’s really important that you override that hunger. You are not dying, your metabolism is not crashing, all that is happening is that your insulin level is going down and if you hold out a little it will stabilise and your hunger will disappear.

 

Lunch

Steamed broccoli, kale and spinach, sprinkled with some mixed seeds. You can use extra virgin olive oil, salt and spices to taste.

Dinner

Cooked lentils, steamed brussel sprouts and two hard-boiled eggs. Again you can use extra virgin olive oil, salt and spices to taste.

 

Day 2

Breakfast

Acai Berry Protein Smoothie (you can find the recipe for this smoothie in the food category on this blog.)

Lunch

Acai Berry Protein Smoothie

Dinner

Quinoa with steamed kale, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower. Extra virgin olive oil, salt and spices to taste.

Day 3

Breakfast

17-a-day Japanese super juice. (See below for recipe)

Lunch

17-a-day Japanese super juice.

Dinner

17-a-day Japanese super juice.

17-a-day Japanese Super Juice

Ingredients:

Golden Delicious Apple x1

Pear x1

Cucumber – 2cm chunk

Lemon – small unwaxed

Fresh Ginger Root – 1cm chunk

Spinach – 1 small handful

Celery – 1/2 stalk

Carrot – 1/2 stalk

Kale – 1 small handful

Raw beetroot – 1/2 small

Pineapple – 1cm slice

Broccoli stem – 1cm chunk

Courgette – 1cm chunk

Parsnip – 1cm chunk

Fennel – 1cm chunk

Red Bell Pepper – 1 small slice

Yellow Bell Pepper – 1 small slice

Ice cubes

The Japanese RDA (recommended daily allowance) of fruits and vegetables is 17 different portion. With Japan being home to some of the planet’s oldest living people, I’m very inclined to incorporate some of their recipes.

This juice contains:

  1. Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, K
  2. Beta Carotene
  3. Calcium
  4. Iron
  5. Magnesium
  6. Manganese
  7. Zinc
  8. Selenium
  9. Sodium
  10. Phosphorus
  11. Potassium
  12. Sulphur
  13. Copper
  14. Chromium
  15. Boron

 

Give this simple plan a go and let me know how you get on in the comments below. Enjoy!